JAI(N) HO!

Nikhil Ballal

Tell us something about your childhood.
SJ-My father started Jain traders exactly
on the day of my birth in 1968. He was a
dynamic person. We use to look up to him as
our idol. Like most other Marwaris he didn’t
want us to do business in either gold or money
lending. At the age of 10 he started doing
small businesses. He used to sell the goods
auctioned by the court. After trying his hand
at couple of other businesses he finally
started a steel furniture showroom in the name
of my brother Ramesh.

How were the initial days of Jain
Traders?
SJ-They were great. We were doing two
businesses under one roof. Though we started
selling black and white television sets we
didn’t give up our furniture business. During
this period there wasn’t much competition in
electronic goods market in Thane. Also the
market was growing. My father had
predicted tremendous prospects in electronic
goods market. He had the foresight.
My elder brothers Shanti bhai and
Ramesh bhai would assist my father in
business. I was in school then.+

When did you join Jain Traders?
SJ-I was 15 when I joined Jain Traders.
During those days my day would begin with
showroom, followed by attending the college
in afternoon and would conclude at the
showroom. Like most other Marwari business
children I too never wasted a single minute. I
was crazy about our business. We valued
money a lot.
During our time there was no MBA course.
But today we are excellent managers and
have many MBA people working under us.
Thanks to the practical MBA lessons which
were imparted by our father. In no time we
learn the ropes of trade.

When did you quit the furniture
business?
SJ-Our furniture business was growing
well. We were also the authorized suppliers
to Bank of Maharashtra. But the rapid growth
of electronic goods business compelled us to
concentrate more on it. Ever since 1990 we
focused only on electronic merchandise.
How was the market in nineties?
SJ-The market was very vibrant. By that
time color television sets had arrived on the
scene. There was a huge demand of VCR’s
and television sets. We use to sell 10-12
VCRs daily. But at the same the time the
market also became more competitive. Many
traders entered the market. Thanks to the
goodwill which was earned by my father and
elder brothers, our loyal customers stood
behind us.
We brothers started working rigorously to
achieve the dream set by our father. We
hardly took a break. We had understood the
potential and were tirelessly working to
achieve the goals. We use to be in showroom
for more than twelve hours. With astonishment
people would ask me when do I go home I
use to tell my customers that ” me ram maruti
road var rahto and tembi nakyala jhopto”( I
stay at Ram Maruti road and sleep in Tembi
Naka). We have toiled really hard to reach
this stage.

How did you overcome the
competition?
SJ-Whenever any person comes to our
showroom we perceive him as our friend. He
becomes our customer eventually. You can
call it our secret of success. People feel at
home in Jain Traders. Just like a doctor or an investment planner
we too try to identify the needs and guide him accordingly.
We understand their budget and tailor make
their choice. I remember one of my
Patrons had come to buy water purifier. He had
planned to buy a UV technology purifier I
suggested him to go for a RO technology
instead. The reason behind this was that
since he had shifted to New Bombay where one
usually gets hard water UV wouldn’t have
helped him solve the purpose. In such situation
only RO can give the best result. The client
was so impressed with us that now he does not
think about any other shop.
At times I have also helped my customers
who ignored my suggestions and had to repent their decision.                                                                                                There is no warrantee in our
market but I have gone out of the way to help
my customers to get a replacement. Our
excellent service helped us to overcome the
competition.
How Jain Traders grew from one shop
to three shops?
SJ-It has been a slow and steady growth.
As per the changing times we changed the
arena of products. We were pioneers in
introducing many products in Thane. We made
available all electronic items under one roof.
Variety has been our USP (unique selling
point). In early 2000 we also scripted an
advertising campaign which depicted our
variety. It said Jain Traders-if it is not seen
here then it is not manufactured yet! This line
created wonders for me and augmented our
sales. Thanks to Manish Thakker of MAD
(Mahesh Ad Designing) who suggested me this
punch line.
Is there any science or art behind
displaying products in your showroom?
SJ-Yes of course. I display the high end
products in the entrance and low end products
on the first floor. It shows my strength. Today I
have displayed one of the costliest TV which is
worth three and a half lakhs in my entrance.
Don’t you feel lower income group
customer will get detached from such
presentation?
SJ-No. Gone are the days when customers
would get scared to enter a high end shop.
Thanks to globalization the standard of living
of customers has increased.
My father was once hesitant to install an
air conditioner in our showroom. He felt his
loyal customers might get detached. For many
years we operated without AC. It was very
difficult to convince him. Today our showroom
is equipped with all the latest facilities and
infrastructure. We upgraded ourselves and
showroom as per the requirement of the
market.
What are the pre requisites to become a
good businessman?
SJ-Jibhevar sakhrecha kan; dokyavar
barfavacha gola (sweet tongue and cool head)
are the two requisites to become a successful
businessman. Customer is the king, prince,
queen and everything for us. One should never
hurt his ego. Many people come to our
showroom to buy a particular brand. I never
demoralise him as this may hurt his ego in front
of his family who has accompanied him. After
showing him his desired brand then gradually I
pitch him other brands.
Has the online electronic selling sites
affected your business?
SJ-It did a couple of months back but the
customers who opted online have again come
back to us for quality and prompt service.
How have you trained your staff?
SJ-We make them understand our
viewpoint of giving more importance to
relationship than to business. Jain traders have
a customer friendly culture and the staff
renders the service accordingly. This you will
find from our delivery boy to managers.
What advice you will give to budding
businessmen?
SJ-Stay cool, calm and composed.
Concentrate on one business at a time. After
thirty years we diversified into construction.
Whatever you do give 500% in that. Try to
build relations instead of business.

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